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First off today, Jonathan Steeple at Reuters reports that Grooveshark has lost a key decision in its federal court case, with a judge ruling that the music streaming service directly infringed 5,977 songs and does not qualify for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protection for those uploads.
Grooveshark is a music streaming service that allows users to upload audio files for others to stream. It bills itself as a YouTube for audio and claims that, since its tracks are uploaded by users, it is protected by the DMCA, which limits their liability as long as they quickly remove infringing work. The record labels disagree and filed suit in 2011 against Grooveshark
However, the judge said that there was uncontrovertible evidence that Grooveshark’s employees, including its founders, uploaded thousands of tracks illegally to the service and that Grooveshark asked it’s employees to do so to encourage growth. As such, the judge issued a summary judgment in favor of the labels and has given both sides 21 days to make arguments on a permanent injunction to prevent further infringements.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that U.S. District Judge William Pauley has modified a $48 million jury verdict against both MP3Tunes and its founder Michael Robertson, saying that the jury’s award was unsupported by evidence.
MP3Tunes was a music site that allowed users to “sideload” content from third party sites, including FTP sites, to a private music locker. The record labels sued alleging that the service enabled copyright infringement and a jury agreed, awarding $41 million in statutory and $7.5 million in punitive damages. The jury also found Robertson personally liable, putting him on the hook for the damages and not just his company.
In a ruling that was critical of both sides, which the judge alleges made the case far more complex than was required, the judge let stand the $41 million statutory award but reduced the punitive damages to $750,000 saying that MP3Tunes lacked “red flag” knowledge about the alleged infringements. However, the reduction does offer the labels a chance to hold a new trial on punitive damages.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that Seattle artist Christopher Boffoli has filed a lawsuit against the popular photo sharing site Imgur after he says the site ignored a DMCA takedown notice and left 73 of his photos online for months after he contacted them about removal.
According to Boffoli, he filed a DMCA notice with Imgur on February 21st of this year and received an automated reply confirming receipt. In his lawsuit he alleges that the images were still online more than 200 days after the notice was filed.
As a result, Boffoli has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the sharing of his work as well as statutory and actual damages. Boffoli has filed similar lawsuits against Google, Twitter and others, all of which were settled out of court.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.